Duke Deuce Is The Latest ‘Crunkstar’ Coming Out of Memphis

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Duke Deuce is the modern-day king of crunk music. The Memphis-bred MC is best known for his ability to make people dance with his booming voice and high-energy records. The Quality Control/Motown Records signee wasn’t afraid to experiment with different sounds on his newest LP, Crunkstar.

His latest singles, “JUST SAY THAT” featuring “F.N.F.” rapper Glorilla and the Rico Nasty-assisted “Falling Off,” are both doing well on all streaming platforms. Duke looks to separate himself from the pack and continue to build upon the momentum he has created with his assertive yet fun-loving attitude ahead of his forthcoming “Crunkstar Tour” starting Aug. 10th.

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“I didn’t want people to box me in continuously,” Deuce tells Billboard. “I got so much talent and wanted to express it. While expressing it, I am being true to myself because the sounds on this project come from the same musical influences I grew up on.”

Since his breakthrough hit “Crunk Ain’t Dead,” Duke Deuce has successfully reintroduced crunk music to the mainstream. After receiving co-signs from southern hip-hop legends like Lil Jon, Juicy J, and Project Pat, Duke hasn’t let his foot off the gas pedal. His newest album Crunkstar boasts features from Babyface Ray, Juicy J, Lil Yachty, and many more.

Below, we spoke with Duke Deuce to discuss what he has learned from his time with Quality Control, his quest to expand the reach of crunk music on Crunkstar, and his headlining Crunkstar Tour.

You have proclaimed yourself to be the “King of Crunk.” Who would you consider some of the pioneers of the sound that inspired you coming up?

Tommy Wright III, Lil Jon — of course Project Pat & Three 6 Mafia. Man, my pops, and many different artists out of the city. Then as I got older, artists like Lil Jon and Bankroll Fresh had to get their flowers. 

Your relationship with Quality Control & Motown is a strong match. Can you explain how the partnership started and how it has helped your career over the years?

It’s been a long time coming, man. One thing I can say about QC is that they do not hold hands. You have to be a hustler. P is big on that. Once they see you grinding, then they come to support you tenfold. 

Motown works so hard for me. We are always on the phone working on a plan, and as you can see, there has been a lot of progress. 

You are Memphis through and through. How important was it to incorporate artists from your hometown on your album?

It was very important. It is my way of giving back so we can keep the momentum as a city. As long as we show love to each other, we will always get bigger. Memphis deserves the spotlight, because we do not have the industry in our city, but we always had the talent. Now that we have the shine, we have to keep it going.

Your newest record, “JUST SAY THAT,” with Glorilla. How did that track come about?

Man! I reached out to her in February before “F.N.F.” blew up. I just want to show love to my city and help out however I can if I see someone going hard. The song got cleared at the very last minute! It wouldn’t have been on my album if it had gotten cleared any day after. You know some things we trip about, but the universe always has something else better for you.

You just recently announced your first headlining tour coming right before your set at Rolling Loud Miami 22’. What city are you most excited to hit on “The Crunkstar Tour” and why?

I would say all of them, but if I had to choose, I would say California and New York. Fans from those cities always comment on my posts asking when I am coming, so now that I am coming, I am curious to see what happens!

You have some amazing co-signs, including Juicy J, Offset, and even Drake. What does it mean to receive support from some of the industry’s biggest stars?

It means the world to me, because that is something they do not have to do. It feels good knowing someone believes in you the way you believe in yourself.

Crunkstar has a lot of rock elements to it. How did you and your team come up with such a unique sound?

It was kind of a natural thing, but Hitkidd kicked it off for me. Once he sent me the beat for “Falling Out Of Love” and had Dante Smith throw some guitars on it, I knew that is how I wanted my project to sound.

You have a feature from Juicy J on “Flip Da Switch.” What did he and Three 6 Mafia mean to you growing up?

I cannot explain it with words, to be honest. I used to see Juicy J on TV, so to be able to get features from them and hang out with them is surreal. 

Lastly, you are known for various viral moments on social media. Do you feel pressure to create more of those moments on top of making music?

It’s pretty much a natural thing. It’s never really any pressure to go viral. It seems like I don’t even try sometimes, and it happens. It is what it is to me!

Speaking of that, I want all my fans to get these “Crunkstar Tour” tickets and turn up with me. As I work on my next album, I plan to be consistent in the next couple of months.

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